Question Asked By Baroness Royall of Blaisdon To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received asking them to help stop human trafficking by opting in to the European Union Directive.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): My Lords, the Government received a range of representations, including from parliamentarians, members of the public and non-governmental organisations. We said, referring to the opt-in, that we would make a decision about the finalised text at the end of the process, rather than at the beginning of the drafting. This is what we have now done. The Minister for Immigration has written to the parliamentary scrutiny committees in both Houses, seeking their views on our intention to apply to opt in.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that Answer. I pay tribute to the Government, who are doing the right thing, although I regret that it has taken too long. I also pay tribute to the Anti-Slavery International petition, women's groups and other campaigners, who have clearly brought to bear a great influence on the Government. The National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Young People has found that there are only 38 areas in the UK with a specialist service in place. What are the Government doing to ensure that there is effective intervention and consistent local delivery of these services around the country; and how will these nationally important functions be managed under the Government's proposed politicised policing framework, as set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill?
Baroness Neville-Jones: I can hardly accept the last point made by the noble Baroness. As regards the quality of the services that the Government wish to see in place, there are certainly some excellent boroughs that can act as best practice models, including such places as Hillingdon. The Government's aim, obviously, is to ensure that all boroughs and local authorities operate at the level of best practice. There is constant consultation between the Government, local authorities and the NGOs involved to achieve that result.
Baroness Goudie: My Lords, I am very pleased that the Prime Minister has now done a U-turn and stated that human trafficking is a terrible crime. Will the Minister ask the Prime Minister whether he will put the issue on to the G8 and G20 agenda for November? As she knows, human trafficking is a now global issue and it should be on these international agendas. That is the only way in which we will see the end of it in our lifetime.
Baroness Neville-Jones: I do not think that the Prime Minister has made any kind of U-turn-he has made a very clear statement of the Government's position on the evils of human trafficking. I will take back the point about the desirability of having this on the G20 agenda.